Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015 Book Resolutions

I've never really been one for making resolutions because I'm very aware that it'll last three days and then I'll feel terrible when the next year comes for not doing any of them. But I've noticed some things that I've just started to change naturally, so I thought I'd encourage them and get another blog post done in the process since I haven't posted a review in...a while.

1. Read More Adult Fiction
Classic fiction is starting to be pushed more onto me from school anyway, but I've noticed that I'm mostly enjoying the adult fiction I read more than the YA. Quality aside, I basically subconsciously assumed that older fiction was going to be more complicated and tiring to get through, but pretty much every preconception I've had have so far been proven wrong. This isn't necessarily about becoming more mature in my reading tastes, or branching out from what I'm used to: I've just started to enjoy the writing style, characters and story lines more in adult fiction.
Having said that, I do still want to keep reading YA because in my experience there's a more active community around it, which makes the after-reading enjoyment better, and there are definitely still very good quality stories out there.

2. Read More Books on Kindle
There are three reasons. Number one, it's mostly far, far cheaper and since I'm starting to try books that I wouldn't normally read it means a lot less money wasted if it turns out I still don't like a particular genre etc. Number two, as much as I love the feel, smell, beauty of a physical book I'm seriously running out of room to put them and if they aren't a favourite they often get put on a shelf and don't move for years. If I lent books out more often this wouldn't be such a problem because I'd feel like the books are getting enjoyed enough for it to be worth the space. But unfortunately I happen to be friends with quite a few people that enjoy having their own books. And number three, just from looking at my wall of bookshelves, I am a little concerned about how much paper is being used. Stupid, I know. But the point still stands that a thousand books on a kindle that used fossil fuels to be made is still better in the long run than a thousand print books that were read once and now sit on a shelf.
Obviously, a simple way out would be to just give books away to friends or charity once I've read them - which I also plan to do more of. The problem still stands that I have to get rid of everything I've already got on my shelves at the moment though.

3. Book Buying Limits
No book buying ban because that never works, and no scheme to only read books from the TBR shelf until it's all gone because realistically that would take me a few years and I'd get very bored. But, I do plan to be more logical in what I buy. For the moment, no buying books unless I want to start them right away because there are plenty of things on my shelf that i'm interested to open but sometimes there's just too much choice and I end up buying a new one to make the decision for me. If, later in the year, I've cut down on my TBR shelf and there's something I really think will be good even if I don't want to start it in a second, then maybe. And exceptional circumstances like presents and crazy amazon kindle sales. Because how am I really supposed to resist?

4. More Daytime Reading
Supposedly, I have an hour each day before I go to sleep to read, and maybe a couple extra on weekend mornings. But recently I've just been so tired when it comes to then that I just want to go straight to sleep, or I get three pages in, realise I haven't absorbed a single word and give up. This ends up making me read a whole lot slower and sometimes leads to more hours up on the computer 'winding down' instead of reading. So I want to have more times during the day when I can stop for an hour and read. I do sometimes do this; between essays, after college, when I'm bored and want to get away from my computer. But since starting college it's become one of the last things I think of, because at the end of the day, I do want to enjoy and process what I'm reading, and if I'm bored and half-asleep that's not really going to happen. So maybe between coursework, or in frees at college, or when I get home. I don't actually know yet - a great start, right?

5. Book Preferences
This is a strange one, because I think I've been trying to do this for a long time, but I haven't unite got the hang of it, and honestly I'm not entirely aware of what it is... But I want to listen to why people in the community like certain books that I don't. It doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, but I think because I don't, for example, enjoy contemporary, I turn away as soon as it gets mentioned because it just doesn't interest me, and so I never actually find out what other people like about it. This isn't really something that's going to help me or advance my reading maturity or anything, but I'm just quite interested to find out what things build up preferences on genre, story, setting, narration, characters etc.

*and an hour later I think of something else*
BONUS: Accurate Book Ratings
I've had this idea for how to rate books more accurately for a while because I'm aware I'm not entirely consistent in the way that I rate novels. Sometimes I get caught up in how much I enjoyed the book, or how good the ending was, when the majority of the novel wasn't that great. Or perhaps being unfair towards a certain book because I was disappointed with the final thing compared to expectations. And because of these personal things for me, it makes recommending them to other people a lot less clear. So I going to start a new sort of rating system:
Two five star ratings, and then an average from them. The first rating will be on how much I enjoyed the book and how much I think other people will enjoy reading it, so this is basically my personal opinion. Sometimes I read a technically flawed book, but actually I somehow get really caught up in a twist or a character, and so I end up rounding things up, perhaps unfairly. But, at the same time that's quite an important thing for how well received that book was for me. So the second rating is how technically 'good' the book was. Things like the quality of the writing, the originality of the plot, the realism of the characters and how well the book achieved what it set out to do. These things are really important to me, but I understand that some other people find them less vital. From these two ratings I can add them together and then half the result to get a more accurate rating out of five. I may consequently end up starting half-star ratings, or I might round up or down. We'll see.

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